Matters in our surrounding
As we look at our surroundings, we see a large variety of things with different shapes, sizes and textures. Everything in this universe is made up of material which scientists have named “matter”. The air we breathe, the food we eat, stones, clouds, stars, plants and animals, even a small drop of water or a particle of sand – every thing is matter. We can also see as we look around that all the things mentioned above occupy space and have mass. In other words, they have both mass* and volume**. Since early times, human beings have been trying to understand their surroundings. Early Indian philosophers classified matter in the form of five basic elements – the “Panch Tatva”– air, earth, fire, sky and water. According to them everything, living or non living, was made up of these five basic elements. Ancient Greek philosophers had arrived at a similar classification of matter. Modern day scientists have evolved two types of classification of matter based on their physical properties and chemical nature. In this chapter we shall learn about matter based on its physical properties. Chemical aspects of matter will be taken up in subsequent chapters.
Particles of matter are continuously moving, that is, they possess what we call the kinetic energy. As the temperature rises, particles move faster. So, we can say that with increase in temperature the kinetic energy of the particles also increases. In the above three activities we observe that particles of matter intermix on their own with each other. They do so by getting into the spaces between the particles. This intermixing of particles of two different types of matter on their own is called diffusion. We also observe that on heating, diffusion becomes faster. Why does this happen?
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